Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Time On Haworth Moor


Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights has to be one of the greatest novels of all time. It is a firm favourite of mine, even though I confess to have been partially corrupted by the (original) screen version.

On the few occasions I have been able to visit Haworth, it has been a magical experience. Once I have closed my eyes to the commercialisation of its Bronte connections, I am transported into another world. I cannot quite confess to another century as Merle Oberon and Lawrence Olivier are welcome intruders. [In my view, the original screen version of Wuthering Heights - and its splendid soundtrack - is far superior to any subsequent remakes]. The village is pretty enough but the moor is magnificent, in all its moods. Who cannot hear a brooding Heathcliff calling to his Cathy on the wind?

Well, yes, I am an incurable romantic.

Of course, Wuthering Heights is no cosy romance. It takes a (very) perceptive look at the darker side of love and passion...no mean feat for any writer, let alone a 19th century parson’s daughter leading a sheltered life.

Richer than riches is the gift of imagination, especially when combined with a natural talent for creativity and a keen observation of human nature and society. The Bronte sisters had all these, and we should be thankful they chose to give expression to all three in novels and poems that must rank among the finest contributions of the 19th century to the written word.


Sun on the moor
as lovers kiss, stir a music
of hearts
words cannot contain;
Mist on the moor
as lovers tryst, seal the lyric
to an old magic, snails
under stones

Wind on the moor
as love’s moods give the lie
to that old dare - stones
shall not weep;
Rain on the moor
as lovers fret at separate
windows - seeking words,
world shut out

Snow on the moor
a lover’s grave stirs
a lonely passion
no words could save;
Sun on the moor
mocks us all, we thralls
of Time - gives
a snail heart

[From: Love and Human Remains by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2001]

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